The world’s largest gay social network, Blued, is tackling some of the biggest issues affecting LGBTI Filipinos head on.
In the latest series of BluedTube, launched late last month, vloggers, influencers, and community figures discuss everything from dick pics to catfishing.
It also tackles the reality faced by queer people in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.
Last week, a record-breaking 70,000 LGBTI Filipinos and their allies joined the annual pride parade in the capital, Manila.
Gay Star News chatted with BluedTube director, Jedd Rommel, to get the lowdown on the new series.
You’ve said LGBTI Filipinos have more issues than Vogue. Why is this?
There’s a frustration I think among the community. LGBT people are everywhere now. We’re on TV, we contribute to basically all industries. Drag queens are now mainstream. Straight men now say “charot” (or “just kidding”, in local gayspeak) fearlessly. So the general public seemed to have accepted us. But when we finally demanded equal rights, we found that the acceptance was superficial. The Anti-Discrimination Bill languished. Groups, politicians, and religious organizations condemned us. It’s a stabbed-in-the-back feeling. The challenge for us now is to use our talent and creativity, those things that make us seen and heard glamorously and sassily, to advance our rights.
How did you choose what to cover in the new series?
We wanted to have a good mix of topics from personal ones like getting bullied as a gay child to more sexy discussions like experiences with multiple sex partners.
We wanted to make gay viewers realise that their experiences are shared. Their issues, problems, desires, and “strangeness” are more common than they think. They are not alone, they are normal. When we talk about these things in the open right now, we make it easier for all the gay boys of the next generation.
Who did you speak to?
It was a good mix of people who were influencers in their own right, and everyday people, as well. We selected those who had an authentic voice, who didn’t shy away from sensitive discussions.
Among the popular ones, there’s Mark Zacarias who runs the Hugot Beki gay social media group of 800k followers. Steven Bansil is an openly gay Youtuber. Vinzon Booc aka Lady Gagita has several million views on his Youtube record. Enzo Almario made it to one of the final rounds in Idol Philippines.
How did you cover controversial topics?
We needed to strike a balance between being frank and sex-positive, against bastos (rude) and offensive. While we were cutting the episodes, I needed to keep on asking for second opinion: is this racist? Is this vulgar? Is this too much now?
Do you cover issues affecting all parts of the LGBTI community?
We’ve tackled transgender women before. We had a drag queen and a young teen transgender girl talk about the differences in orientation, identity and expression. I’d love to have an even broader age range next time and feature gay seniors. Also, maybe try getting political and tackle general issues. It would interesting to show our perspective on topics that are not necessarily gay.